Google uses a clever trick to stop execs from leaving by Benjamin Snyder @FortuneMagazine May 7, 2015, 10:18 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Google reportedly uses an informal bench system to keep “prized engineers and product gurus” at the company, even when they’re not actively working on a project, Business Insider revealed Thursday. The article cited anonymous sources who shed light on the company’s tactics to retain top talent. The search giant pays executives even when they’re not working on a project, the article said: The internet company’s obsession with prized engineers and product gurus, and its competitive instinct to keep them away from rivals, mean certain executives can essentially rotate out of an active role for months or even years at a time, often getting paid to wait until the organization needs them again. There are also reportedly positions set up to advise others within the company, including CEO Larry Page. Business Insider added: The bench system is an effective but little-discussed strategic tactic in Google’s playbook as the company looks to expand into new markets and keep an edge over a growing crop of web challengers that are all desperate for seasoned internet business experts. The article cited interviews with Google GOOG executives. One told Business Insider: “It helps keep people off the market. It helps keep the institutional knowledge if you need them back for any reason. And it costs [Google] so little to retain these people rather than to have them leave and start the next Facebook.” And the bench system isn’t even “reserved for high-level executives,” the article found. In fact, it appears that engineers and others may have the opportunity to take as much as eight months off to “figure out his next move, all while getting paid,” an anonymous source told Business Insider.